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Definition of RHEA
: either of two South American ratite birds (Rhea americana and Pterocnemia pennata of the family Rheidae) that resemble but are smaller than the African ostrich and that have three toes, a fully feathered head and neck, an undeveloped tail, and pale gray to brownish feathers that droop over the rump and back
Either of two ostrich-like species of South American three-toed ratite birds (family Rheidae). The common rhea (Rhea americana) is about 4 ft (120 cm) tall and weighs about 50 lbs (20 kg). It has luxuriant plumage, brown or gray above and whitish below. Darwin's rhea (Pterocnemia pennata) is smaller and has white-tipped brownish plumage. Rheas live in open country, often among grazing animals, and run from predators. They eat a wide variety of plants and animals. Both species are listed as endangered.